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Other Desert Cities at IRT 

***1/2
click to enlarge IRTDesertCities.jpg

Other Desert Cities is a profoundly American story of a wealthy, old Hollywood family struggling to come to terms with its identity in an ever-changing cultural landscape.

The outline of the story is simple: The Wyeth family convenes at Christmas to celebrate the completion of a daughter's novel. What unfolds after the revelation of her book makes for a shocking and powerful family drama.

Smart design choices and powerhouse actors are key to Indiana Repertory Theatre's take on Jon Robin Baitz's play. Baitz's story is riveting. He is generous to his characters, giving each member of the five person ensemble moments of vulnerability then power, triumph then failure.

However, his penchant for big-moment monologues, which pepper the script, slow down the production's pacing. In all, director James Still elicits honest and heartfelt performances from very talented actors.

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